s/y Nine of Cups
Australia - Victoria - Gippsland Lakes
January 2012
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A long day and an overnight and we were in Victoria,
rounding Australia's southeast corner and within
shooting distance of Tasmania. While in Eden, we
had, by chance, picked up a brochure about
Victoria's Gippsland Lakes. One photo showed a
sailboat on the lakes and we wondered if  maybe the
lakes were deep enough for  bigger boats like Cups
to navigate. Lakes Entrance leads into Lake King
behind the Ninety Mile Beach. Raymond Island there
supposedly has a large population of koalas in the
wild. Rotamah Island is a wildlife/bird sanctuary with
emu, roos, wallabies, wombats and echidnas. A few
phone calls to the local VMR and Coast Guard and
we were assured that Cups would do just fine all the
way to Paynesville. It's all we needed to hear!
Victoria Facts...
  • Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria
    is Australia's most densely populated state, and has
    a highly centralised population, with almost 75% of
    Victorians living in Melbourne, the state capital and
    largest city.
  • Population: ~5.5 million a/o 12/2009
  • Area: 227,600 sq km
  • Victoria, like Queensland, was named after Queen
    Victoria, the monarch at the time.
  • High point:  Mt Bogong  1,986 m (6,516 ft)
  • Victoria calls itself the 'Garden State', a reference
    to the rolling green hills and valleys which make up
    the majority of the state.
The secret ballot was first used in Victoria and
South Australia.. The secret ballot was referred
to as 'kangaroo voting'. Worldwide, secret
voting is sometime called an 'Australian ballot.
From the Sail Blog 23 Jan 2012...
En route from Eden to Lakes
Entrance:  Hundreds of sooties and
petrels attest to the fact that the fishing
is good here. Some sit in rafts on the
water and move only when the boat is
close to
them.  We saw our first albatross in
Australia this morning followed by
many, many more as the day
progressed. As we turned the corner
and started heading west, hugging the
coastline of Victoria, we entered into
the Bass Strait. Pods of dolphins
greeted us, surfing down the waves
and seemingly enjoying themselves
immensely. We certainly enjoyed
their enthusiastic welcome.
Lakes Entrance, as its name suggests, is a direct
access off the Bass Strait to the lakes behind the
coastal dunes known as the Ninety Mile Beach.
In actuality, the "lakes" are a network of lakes,
marshes and lagoons covering 400 sq km and are
Australia's largest inland waterways.
We arrived two hours before high tide as
planned and the conditions were perfect. That
said, the water around the entrance roiled and
we could see a standing wave in front of us. We
plowed on through and in a matter of minutes ....
we were in tranquil waters where
dozens of black swans and hundreds
of other birds swam peacefully. The
air smelled earthy and the scent of
eucalyptus wafted on the breeze.
Birds, birds, birds. We'd never seen so many
diverse birds in such numbers ... pelicans, black
swans, gulls, cormorants, herons, coots, ducks...
all swimming around looking for a snack. The
rafts of birds would part as we motored through,
but they were evidently savvy about boat traffic.
Paynesville  map with our anchorage marked
across the narrow McMillan Strait.
Even Australian fur seals made their way into
the lagoon. A lazy seal above does the back
float with his flippers high in the air.
Blue-green algae is a problem in
the lakes this year and limits
swimming and fishing activities.
The 9-mile route from Lakes Entrance to
Paynesville was quite circuitous, through a
well-marked channel which doglegged
around shallow spots in the lake. We came
close, but never went aground.
We anchored just around Montague Point off
Raymond Island. Lake traffic was steady, but
we sat comfortably, a quick dinghy ride across
the harbor to town and within a stone's throw of
Raymond Island and its wildlife wonderland.
Black swans came a-calling regularly.
Sometimes they brought the family and other
times just the parents came by. They'd
trumpet a hello and wait patiently for the first
mate to bring out the daily ration of bread.
They weren't the least bit afraid of
Marcie as she fed them by hand from
the dinghy.
Gippsland Lakes Yacht Club members
welcomed us warmly.
Montague Point, Raymond Island - 37S55.44 / 147E43.27 - 23'
Raymond Island is home to hundreds of wild koalas. Don't miss this page!
Wednesday night yacht racing
January 26th commemorates the
arrival of the British First Fleet at
Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, in 1788.
Australia Day is the country's "national"
day. Flags were flying, red, white &
blue balloons swayed in the breeze,  
banners waved and even the Raymond
Island Ferry was dressed in her colors.
Children had their faces painted and their
bikes all decorated for a parade later in the
day. There was quite a turnout in town. Free
breakfast served by the local Lion's Club was
an incentive to arrive early.
The Australian flag was raised
by the local Sea Scouts and
the crowd sang "Advance
Australia Fair".
Dignitaries gave speeches; bands played.
Twelve people swore their oath of allegiance
to country and in a moving ceremony
became new citizens of Australia midst
audience applause and smiling faces.
Bernie's Tin Shed motored slowly into the little bay near the Progress Jetty playing "Waltzing Matilda". The "Tin
Shed" is literally a tin shed on pontoons. Young Sea Scouts did a fine re-enactment of the story of Waltzing
Matilda's swagman to the delight of the crowd on shore. Check out the "
Australia" page for more info about
"Waltzing Matilda". It'll have you humming all day long. We topped off the day with a BBQ at the Raymond Island
home of our new friends, Jim & Linda.
Don't forget to visit the koalas of Raymond Island!
Welcome to Australia
New South Wales
Canberra, ACT
Australia Birds
Raymond Island
Home Page
An aerial view of Paynesville showing the
intricate lake, strait and canal systems of the area.
As always, it's time to go before we're ready to
leave, but a good weather window appeared and
we needed to take advantage of it. The trip across
the Lakes Entrance bar was thankfully uneventful.
We're off to Tasmania...again...this time with a
planned stop at Deal Island. Come with us across
the sometimes treacherous
Bass Strait and visit
the island/ lighthouse caretakers on Deal Island.
The plan was to leave our anchorage off
Raymond Island timed so that we'd arrive at
the Lakes Entrance channel and shoot right
through. The wind was up and the exit
channel looked a bit dodgy when we
arrived. We opted instead to tie up to the
Flagstaff Jetty for a free mooring night and
wait till the channel looked less dicey. So,
left with some free time, we explored a bit.
Lakes Entrance - Flagstaff Jetty - 37S53.22 / 147E58.42
Cups and crew enjoy a night's respite at
the Flagstaff Jetty before tackling the
channel exit.
The now-abandoned tiny village of New
Works, is adjacent to the jetty and offered
an illustrated historic walk.
David reads a placard as we stretched our
legs and checked out the Lakes Entrance bar.
Viewing the bar from land, it still looked a bit too dodgy for our comfort. We're glad we waited.
Above, a dredge works constantly to keep the
channel navigable. Right, a big pelican on the beach.
We also visited Portland, Victoria and
Discovery Coast. Come along for
the ride!